Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch: Funny, Sure, But Surprising Too
Stop me if you've heard this one before: a female comedienne/actress writes a book on her mishaps in life and love, starting with herself as an awkward child and wrapping up the book with a happy ending of a booming career and some kind of long-term relationship. If this story is, in fact, old news to you, prepare to be refreshed by Rachel Dratch's Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. Though the title seems like your typical funny memoir, Dratch's life has been far from typical, and she shares it with us in candid, hilarious prose.
Dratch is probably best known for her stint on "Saturday Night Live," where she was most famous for her "Debbie Downer" sketch. She starts the book asking the question that all of us have perhaps been wondering: "What happened to you?!" The answer is, not much, and everything. Not much by Hollywood standards. Dratch is refreshingly honest about the typecasting she faces in Hollywood (ugly women, mousy secretaries, and butch lesbians), and the way her big break as Jenna on "30 Rock" was crushed by NBC executives. She doesn't shirk from revealing her disappointment, but does not come off as bitter, just matter-of-fact. Plus, not working gave her a chance to get out there and do all the things she'd meant to do, like yoga -- and dating.
Ah, dating in New York. Again, Dratch approaches the well-tread "dating-mishap" genre with humor, but also honesty and self-reflection, which make the stories more meaningful and relatable. Perhaps the self-reflection comes from where her last date led — to a baby! That’s right, Dratch became pregnant after casually dating John for six months. The last portion of the book relays the confusing and messy time that comes from having a baby with someone you've just met.
Of course, at the end of it all, Dratch gets her son, Eli, which is definitely a happy ending. Dratch, however, doesn't try to wrap up the book with a fairy-tale finish of John proposing, or their relationship solidifying. She admits that she has no idea what their relationship is now, or what the future holds, but she's got a tiny, wrinkly hand to hold onto, and that's good enough for her, and along for the ride, it's good enough for us.